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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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of course, that young people necessarily share a common political ideology or common political interest, but these factors may mean that a large youthful population is readily capable of being organized by various political groups.
A Rise in Aged Population. Is there any relationship between age and political attitudes or behavior? A few scholars have questioned the widespread belief that youth is linked to liberalism and radicalism and old age to conservatism. Herbert McClosky, for example, has suggested that personality traits are more important than age as a cause of an individual's political views (35). Other studies, however, show that prejudice towards minority groups tends to be greater among older people, and that, in general, social ronserva-tism is greater among the aged than among youth (36, 37). This seems to be the case even when educational levels are constant.
Among the few empirical studies of aged populations is a study by Rainey in the state of Arkansas, which, as a result of substantial emigration of young adults, has an older population than most other states. Rainey reports a growth of political pressures by senior citizens, the presence of growing conservatism on race issues, a decline not only in the number of school children but an even more rapid decline in the number of young teachers, and some evidence that the aged population is opposed to measures to finance new schools, roads, and other projects designed to stem the state's out-migration and attract industry (38).
There may be some validity to the slogan of young radicals, "don't trust anyone over 30," an example of a most un-Marxist position in that it implies that neither income, occupation, nor social class are determinants of radicalism. Is it possible that the decline in revolutionary fervor in the Soviet Union is not an outgrowth of increased affluence, or the growing influence of middle and professional classes, or even the "natural" decline in ideology, but is a result of the fact that the Soviet population has been aging? By the early 1960's the 15-to-29 age group was down to 53 percent of the number over 30. Perhaps the current theory that increased affluence leads to restraint in international relations needs to be re-examined in the light of the possibility that age is a more restraining factor on the part of governments.
An examination of the effects of aging populations should also include consideration of the type of demands made by older citizens as a result of changes in family structure. The aging of populations in developed societies takes place in the context of changes in the family system. The growth of independence on the part of young people and the establishment of the nuclear family system have made older people less able to be dependent on their children and increasingly dependent upon the state for support in their old age. It is ironic that the number of older people in the society is increasing at the very same time that the family system is less able to cope with